Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Tyrant is Dead! Long live the Tyrant!

Say that again? You're browsing for gruesome tidbits and hopefully the video version of Saddam Hussein's news (I'm sure it'll hit the Youtube sometime soon) and which tyrant still lives?
Let's have a recount people on the real reasons behind this Roman Empire spectacle of a tyrant's death:

Contemporary warfare has traditionally involved underlying conflicts regarding economics and resources. Today these intertwined conflicts also involve international currencies, and thus increased complexity. Current geopolitical tensions between the United States and Iran extend beyond the publicly stated concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions, and likely include a proposed Iranian “petroeuro” system for oil trade.

Similar to the Iraq war, military operations against Iran relate to the macroeconomics of ‘petrodollar recycling’ and the unpublicized but real challenge to U.S. dollar supremacy from the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency.

It is now obvious the invasion of Iraq had less to do with any threat from Saddam’s long-gone WMD program and certainly less to do to do with fighting International terrorism than it has to do with gaining strategic control over Iraq’s hydrocarbon reserves and in doing so maintain the U.S. dollar as the monopoly currency for the critical international oil market. Throughout 2004 information provided by former administration insiders revealed the Bush/Cheney administration entered into office with the intention of toppling Saddam Hussein.[1][2]

Candidly stated, ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ was a war designed to install a pro-U.S. government in Iraq, establish multiple U.S military bases before the onset of global Peak Oil, and to reconvert Iraq back to petrodollars while hoping to thwart further OPEC momentum towards the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency (i.e. “petroeuro”).[3] However, subsequent geopolitical events have exposed neoconservative strategy as fundamentally flawed, with Iran moving towards a petroeuro system for international oil trades, while Russia evaluates this option with the European Union.

So which tyrant(s) still lives?
...history will record that the Arabs and other Muslims and, indeed, many millions in the West, will ask another question this weekend, a question that will not be posed in other Western newspapers because it is not the narrative laid down for us by our presidents and prime ministers - what about the other guilty men?

No, Tony Blair is not Saddam. We don't gas our enemies. George W Bush is not Saddam. He didn't invade Iran or Kuwait. He only invaded Iraq. But hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead - and thousands of Western troops are dead - because Messrs Bush and Blair and the Spanish Prime Minister and the Italian Prime Minister and the Australian Prime Minister went to war in 2003 on a potage of lies and mendacity and, given the weapons we used, with great brutality.

In the aftermath of the international crimes against humanity of 2001 we have tortured, we have murdered, we have brutalised and killed the innocent - we have even added our shame at Abu Ghraib to Saddam's shame at Abu Ghraib - and yet we are supposed to forget these terrible crimes as we applaud the swinging corpse of the dictator we created.

Who encouraged Saddam to invade Iran in 1980, which was the greatest war crime he has committed for it led to the deaths of a million and a half souls? And who sold him the components for the chemical weapons with which he drenched Iran and the Kurds? We did. No wonder the Americans, who controlled Saddam's weird trial, forbad any mention of this, his most obscene atrocity, in the charges against him. Could he not have been handed over to the Iranians for sentencing for this massive war crime? Of course not. Because that would also expose our culpability.

And the mass killings we perpetrated in 2003 with our depleted uranium shells and our "bunker buster" bombs and our phosphorous, the murderous post-invasion sieges of Fallujah and Najaf, the hell-disaster of anarchy we unleashed on the Iraqi population in the aftermath of our "victory" - our "mission accomplished" - who will be found guilty of this? Such expiation as we might expect will come, no doubt, in the self-serving memoirs of Blair and Bush, written in comfortable and wealthy retirement

And let's keep our eyes clear on what's going to happen with Iran:
Iranian Oil Bourse

The Iranian government has finally developed the ultimate “nuclear” weapon that can swiftly destroy the financial system underpinning the American Empire. That weapon is the Iranian Oil Bourse slated to open in March 2006. It will be based on a euro-oil-trading mechanism that naturally implies payment for oil in Euro. In economic terms, this represents a much greater threat to the hegemony of the dollar than Saddam’s, because it will allow anyone willing either to buy or to sell oil for Euro to transact on the exchange, thus circumventing the U.S. dollar altogether. If so, then it is likely that almost everyone will eagerly adopt this euro oil system:

· The Europeans will not have to buy and hold dollars in order to secure their payment for oil, but would instead pay with their own currencies. The adoption of the euro for oil transactions will provide the European currency with a reserve status that will benefit the European at the expense of the Americans.

· The Chinese and the Japanese will be especially eager to adopt the new exchange, because it will allow them to drastically lower their enormous dollar reserves and diversify with Euros, thus protecting themselves against the depreciation of the dollar. One portion of their dollars they will still want to hold onto; a second portion of their dollar holdings they may decide to dump outright; a third portion of their dollars they will decide to use up for future payments without replenishing those dollar holdings, but building up instead their euro reserves.

· The Russians have inherent economic interest in adopting the Euro – the bulk of their trade is with European countries, with oil-exporting countries, with China, and with Japan. Adoption of the Euro will immediately take care of the first two blocs, and will over time facilitate trade with China and Japan. Also, the Russians seemingly detest holding depreciating dollars, for they have recently found a new religion with gold. Russians have also revived their nationalism, and if embracing the Euro will stab the Americans, they will gladly do it and smugly watch the Americans bleed.

· The Arab oil-exporting countries will eagerly adopt the Euro as a means of diversifying against rising mountains of depreciating dollars. Just like the Russians, their trade is mostly with European countries, and therefore will prefer the European currency both for its stability and for avoiding currency risk, not to mention their jihad against the Infidel Enemy.

Only the British will find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They have had a strategic partnership with the U.S. forever, but have also had their natural pull from Europe. So far, they have had many reasons to stick with the winner. However, when they see their century-old partner falling, will they firmly stand behind him or will they deliver the coup de grace? Still, we should not forget that currently the two leading oil exchanges are the New York’s NYMEX and the London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), even though both of them are effectively owned by the Americans. It seems more likely that the British will have to go down with the sinking ship, for otherwise they will be shooting themselves in the foot by hurting their own London IPE interests. It is here noteworthy that for all the rhetoric about the reasons for the surviving British Pound, the British most likely did not adopt the Euro namely because the Americans must have pressured them not to: otherwise the London IPE would have had to switch to Euros, thus mortally wounding the dollar and their strategic partner

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Be A Witness...Help Get the Media to Pay Attention to Darfur

Yes, I have more blogger friends to cover (see posts below) but this is important as you all understand. Check out this video.

I did see a television ad about Darfur, just not the one that is from 'be a witness'. One of the reasons I imagine is because they criticize specific people from the different networks and of course (dingelings), which is not exactly a smart way to get them same networks to air that said TV AD! Savvy??
Anyhow, for you who still needs to know 'all there is to know' about Darfur, check out SAVE DARFUR.

And if you haven't seen the ad on tv, I hope you will. For now, perhaps you can look at this video that was filmed in a refugee camp in Chad:

Monday, December 25, 2006

The blessings of blogger friends, a continuation

With the many blogger compadres that I have connected with, there is no way to acknowledge them all in one post. This one will let a few of them know how I appreciate them;

Mash! Or How I learned to stop worrying. In the beginning when I started to read his posts, I always thought that the picture on the top left was his! Of course, my computer screen wasn't working correctly and I could not tell that it was Peter Sellers in the movie of the same title; Doctor Strangelove. Mash is one of the few people I truly admire for his ability to analyze politics so well and write literally like a professional. His generosity of heart and spirit and towards his fellow 'bloggers in arms' through the 'bloggers against torture' marathon was practically tangible. For quite a few of us, this marathon event bonded us together as bloggers with a common cause inspite of our individual differences. But back to Mash. His personal background and perspectives have been the source of his very fascinating posts. His knowledge of history and the connections he makes when analyzing are quite astute. Topping that off is the commonality that founded this connection I feel with all of my blogger friends; there is a desire to improve relations, to stop war and injustices perpetrated by those in power. To seek the truth in all things and to be fair to all people. And also to not give in to petty-ness and meanspiritness that so many people like to participate in (the ann coulters and bill o'reillys of the world but make note, there are 'left' versions of these people as well, ask any Independent).. courtesy, intelligent retorts, and retorts with humour. That is what I 'see' when I read Mash's posts. He is a loyal and true friend who reached out to me when I went through a rough patch. When starting that 'fantasy documentary', his' is one of the first stops I will want to make. It is nice to have friends that you can actually look up to!

As for admiring someone; here is another person who puts his money where his mouth is; Cyberotter. At first I did not know what to think of him or even if 'it' was a 'him' (lol), and then CO, in short, went on a great fundraising tour called the American Legacy Run. This fundraiser provides money for children of parents who died in the 'war on terror'. CO being an outspoken type, has also pursued knowing and finding out the truth regarding 9/11, which many scholars and scientists question the validity of.
Disgusted what has been happening with his country, the disappearing of liberties and freedoms that the general populace takes no notice of, this veteran (and I summise this CORRECT me if I'm wrong) has announced his and his wife's decision to move to the US Virgin Islands. Like others that I know who've seriously worried about the direction of this country under the Bush administration and considered emigration, CO and his wife have decided to take the plunge. My initial reaction was sadness at the thought of him leaving, but then my light bulb went off and I figured, what the hey, they must have internet on the island!!
I have seen true patriotism if I may use that word for now (it's not a word I like) in CO; the desire and courage to look within for uncomfortable truths combined with a desire to change it. This type of honesty is dismissed by so many O'reillians as being on par with terrorism, or anti-Americanism. However, I think any reasonable person, regardless of political colours, understands that to be honest and self examining, is actually a very mature act that can only come from a person who has integrity and self confidence. I cannot help but think that that describes CO.
Great! Yet another potential destination for my future road trip!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

How to track Santa...

Btw..if you're into tracking Santa as we are in our house, here's a link, courtesy of Norad:
Check out the latest Santa video!
I'll refrain from making political jokes...

God bless Ye Merry Gentlewomen

My daughter is distracted from watching her Backyardigans online (we cut cable two months ago) so I have my computer back. My accolades and appreciation is continued by highlighting the ladies (grandmothers) of Is America Burning.
friends who write

For the life of me, I don't remember how we got acquainted. But I am glad I did. Is America Burning comprises out of the collaboration of 4 women who have their own individual blogs. Their passion of speaking out against the war in Iraq, the ignorance or hubris of the Religious Right's self righteous religious and political agenda by backing and supporting Bush and swift boating those who disagree with them, is a notable feature when you read just a sample of their posts. Considering that my mom (who'll turn 66 in a few months) still does not have a computer and is fairly technologically challenged, I can appreciate even more that inspite of some of their individual trepidation to go online, they have persisted and figured out like any of us by trial and error. Their life's experience(s) comes through in their posts when commenting or highlighting political or religious issues, and their upbringing and their fervent belief of what America does stand for makes for some passionate posts that tells you to not discount anyone over ehm..well, say 50! (wink wink) They represent to me the women in my family that I grew up with: strong, opiniated, and self confident that their opinion matters, hell ya!
Those of us who visit them often also frequent their own blogs and Granny's family challenges make her all the more real and not just an anonymous blogger with a name. Worried's handle tells you in a nutshell why's she's online as she accounts her son's tour in Iraq. Gadfly is a feisty 'retired pain in the ***', and I quote and Andrea, as the young one of them (thirties) has her own interesting life being married to a Japanese love and the only Canadian in the bunch as well, going through life as a young mom.

If only we could all get together, have coffee and yak and solve the worlds' ills! They remind me that women can form very close bonds and passionate ones at that with a common goal and common beliefs. Mothers (and here is a very biased opinion) are just above the law when it comes to protecting their own children or other'young ones. Whether those young ones are toddlers or young man fresh out of highschool 'serving' in the war. It goes back to my strong belief that women give life, not take it, exceptions notwithstanding. If we were in charge, common sense would give those power lusty men the big boot and settle issues and disputes, tolerate no nonsense, and get everyone the hell to pay attention to what's really important! LIFE, being sacred, EARTH, which needs to be taken care of and not destroyed and (over)used and abused, and FAMILY, which grounds every individual if done right.
Ladies, it's been a pleasure knowing you and I am in awe of your posts, your vigilance and your commitment. Not to mention good humour (here here)

Feed the World..let them know it's Christmas time..

Bob and Doug McKenzie eh.

One station has been playing Christmas music since Thanksgiving and of course, there are the same old same old songs that quickly make you switch to another channel. Some put me right in the mood for Christmas such as the Canadian version of the twelve days of Christmas; Bob and Doug McKenzie's (..."Hey Hoser!"), and speaking of Canadians, the latest version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman by the Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlin, great guitar work and harmony. (scroll to bottom of page for sample listen)

And speaking of more great Canadians, my continued ode to my blogger buddies;

Gary. Withinsight is right and here is another example of a thoughtful person as his work at Amnesty International attests to. With a world of traveling experience which gives you so much more of an inkling what goes on outside your own little world, he's continued to follow his integrity. No offense, but working for (most)non profits are not the most or best paying jobs in the world, no matter of the perks. But the dividends must be a clear conscious, sound sleep, and knowing you've done something to make changes. His consciousness I see also in him living in a co-housing because people who can give up their material, 'this is mine', are definitely in it in this world for sharing the load, whether caring for their immediate environment, or the world at large. Gary fits that bill so well. He practices what he preaches and amidst personal and funny posts, there are always the reminder to pay attention to what Amnesty is doing, asking for your help. And most of 'our' help can be done so effortlessly by signing petitions! However, I do know, that for real changes to happen, we could all 'be' a little like Gary, and step out to do some actual (volunteer) work. Something to contemplate for the new year. Merry Christmas Gary!

More later in the day.. adios amigos, a bientot. Breakfast is beckoning (yes, I got up way too late)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukah/ Happy Holidays to my blogger friends

I've been reminiscing the last couple of days, in between the many interruptions from kids and visiting mom. (5 hours later)..I'm back..speaking of!!
Anyway, I've been thinking what I have learned from my different blogger friends. There are times when I wished I could go around and visit all of them/you and make a documentary. My blogger buddies are all over the US, Canada, Holland, Australia, England, Israel, Palestine, Bahrain, Belgium and someone in Singapore (although originally Bangladesh). Some I visit online regularly during the week, some I visit less frequent but they hold my attention nevertheless and it makes me feel more knowledgable and understanding reading about people's opinion who do not always match my own.
I see your thinking 'yea yea whatever' , where's the Mantovani violins..blablabla.. but seriously. Since I've had a hell of a time connecting with people here at home (I don't know why it's hard to make friends, I've been told because I'm 'European' and people feel threatened by me, to which I say 'WHATEVER!' Cannot imagine that but whatever IT is.. I'm a people person and I need to get that exchange of ideas out of my system. Thank God for blogging!
So here's a tally of what I've learned from each and everyone of you;
(in no particular order, 'we' don't do the snob thing and consider some 'animals' to be more equal (read, interesting) than others)

Rogel. Rogel found me or I found Rogel during the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. Rogel is an Israeli living in the US for almost as long as I have. He's also a passionate Libertarian. Are there any other Libertarians??!! lol. Being more critical of Israeli politics and policies towards the Palestinians, I have found myself challenged because of his own life experiences as an Israeli and someone who's served in the Israeli army. His' been a reminder that sometimes, we have different life paths and perhaps some parts of us can come together, and some parts of us just will always have that different experience and different outlook. I credit him for keeping on about the seriousness of Dafur, thank you for that email Rogel, I've been remiss in posting on it. Happy Hanukah to you and your family!

Robster, or Robbie as his handle shows. Right now he's not blogging, but he's still visiting 'us' (his bloggers against torture buds) regularly and staying in touch. And speaking of passionate, he makes not ifs or buts about his anger or disgust with all things/people political. He is also a sports fanatic and someone who's on the opposite pole of that one, I could never bring myself to comment on his sports OR beer posts. I would have nothing to say but 'duh'.. (what do I know about those things). But, speaking of humanity and the underdog, and speaking out..we're on the same team. It's been good knowing you Robster. Feliz Navidad amigo!

Zee, my fellow wonderer. That said, I think you've wondered a bit more than I have but I think we share the same restlessness. Like Robster, he has no qualms in expressing himself , as Spock would say, in colourful metaphors! And as a true artist, we're regailed to pictures of his artwork, art students working, and the occasional girlie picture. I know I know..he's sooo European! But, he's also very respectful when he disagrees with fellow bloggers and inspite of his frustrations, he does want to stay friends and does not want to upset them. It's difficult sometimes when you're outspoken and honestly so as Zee. But..I enjoy the person blogging even when it's not political. The artist in him always reminds me to explore that side of me. Too much politics is not good for the health, or one's creativity for that matter. Yes, if I ever do get that make that fantasy documentary (because it's all in my head right now) sometime, I most definitely will stop over to eat, drink and listen to you and yours play music and get some free sculpture lesson while I'm visiting!! Happy Holidays, put everything out of your head and enjoy that time with your friends and family, you do seem to have quite a few of them.

Lindsay, my Australian connection. A thoughtful gentleman, a wise man the world needs more of, and a poet to boot! His blogger friends are often honoured with a comment in rhyme and it is such a natural expression for him too. Speaking of natural, his posts on sustainability belies the fact that the word 'sustainability' is boring; his posts are most definitely not. Australia is also the birth place of permaculture and Lindsay's daughter herself is a practicing permie. (her site is on her blog, sorry, forgot the name right now) Is finishing a graduate degree if memory serves me on music but what specifically, I don't know. Still, she wrote a post on Nusrat Ahmed Ali Khan, a renowned Pakistani (already passed on) Suffi singer. Somehow, I think it shows her eclecticism which must come from home. Lindsay's outward looking with an interest in Africa from some kind of personal experience, (why haven't I found out??)but mostly it's his nature, experience or not. It reminds me that the world comes with that mix of personalities that look within their own world/experience, and those who look outside of it. Lindsay looks outside and it is no wonder he's thoughtful. Merry Christmas Lindsay and family, I would sooo look forward in traveling to Australia if that documentary film making would ever materialize!

It's almost 10:30pm..I told myself to go to bed early (of course, it's not happening again) but I really should turn in now. I'm fighting a cold which has been passed on by my 3 1/2yr old who's still hacking away to get the gunk out of her little lungs, and sleep does wonders. Good night everyone. I definitely WILL continue this tomorrow..more friends to cover, more friends to acknowledge.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Speaking of Dissidents: Howard Zinn's "The Use of History and the War on Terrorism

Howard Zinn in Identity Theory, photo by Red Diaz/Duende Publishing
From Democracy Now:
After serving as a bombardier in World War II, Howard Zinn went on to become a lifelong dissident and peace activist. He was active in the civil rights movement and many of the struggles for social justice over the past 40 years.
He taught at Spelman College, the historically black college for women, and was fired for insubordination for standing up for the students. He was recently invited back to give the commencement address.
Howard Zinn has written numerous books and is professor emeritus at Boston University. He recently spoke in Madison, Wisconsin where he was receiving the Haven Center's Award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship. We bring you his lecture, "The Uses of History and the War on Terrorism."

Read the transcrip, click on the quote. Also, perhaps you can consider a Christmas donation to Democracy Now. Another thing to consider is this; try to get Amy Goodman's column (new) in your newspaper. HERE are the details.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Independent thinking, Part 1

Dissent in America

OK, I should be careful because every time I want to write about something in stages, 'life' takes over (see post below), I get a surge of activities/commitments to be completed. My 'oomph' is gone and it seems besides the point to continue.
So let's consider this 'part 1' to be a continuing theme that will pop up from time to time in my writing.

I am an Independent politically. Most of you know that already. I have always for the most part anyway, thought outside the box and have never feared asking the 'what if'.. . What if Christianity is made up by superstitious people? (she thought to herself while she heard the news about scrolls who were found eluding to the fact that Jesus never died on the cross) What if people willingly put their blinders on because they are afraid to find that their country history and current affairs are corrupt? (read Howard Zinn's " A people's history of the United States, Alex Jones), what if the Howard Zinns and the Alex Jones are correct?

Anyway, I've never been afraid to question or consider challenging my own belief system because I think I am not only independent by nature, I'm always desiring to know the 'real truth', what's behind it. I'm just plain curious.
So in an effort to maximize my 30 minutes when I could write a post, I did a search on dissent and independent thinking and I stumbled upon this interesting site.

I want you to check this out NOT in order to consider the 'truth'of it, or even the validity of the opinions of the person. I might not agree with all of it since I did not have time to go through the whole thing. BUT..the point is to challenge yourself and expose yourself to independent thinking and to step out of the box of conformity. Here is an example of this guys' writing:
My homeroom teacher, a Mrs. Lage, unexpectedly yelled at me one afternoon after having me do a math problem on the chalkboard. "Chris! Why don't you write your fours like everyone else?!" I wrote closed numeral 4s, just as they are on a typewriter or computer keyboard or on the Channel 4 logo I saw on TV in my youth. According to the teacher, everyone else in class wrote open fours. I had no idea my way of writing 4s would bother my teacher, and when she chastised me I was surprised, hurt, and outraged.

Mrs. Lage's attitude towards conformity typifies the attitude of America at large. You must conform. Everyone must conform! Standardization of human minds at all costs. Protecting the insular system from forces of corruption with rare exceptions.
The closed 4 represents a closed system. The United States is free and open in certain dimensions, but it's a closed fascist system in other ways. Ways which include thought and style. (See George Orwell's "1984."). It's an open society in some respects, but most definitely a closed system of conformitarianism in others.

And who was Mrs. Lage to give me a hard time about my fours? I mean, she knew they were fours, otherwise she wouldn't have called them fours! So, she recognized them as the correct number I intended to write and use in my math exercises.

But Mrs. Lage did not even know how to pronounce her last name correctly. She called it "Loggy." Another case of American bastardization of words. The German pronunciation, which is the only correct one since the name is German, is Log-guh, not Loggy...This is another thing that pisses me off about Americans. They think they can just Americanize any fucking pronunciation they want to. They can change Hispanic and French pronunciations, and German ones, just because they're Americans. Just because they have a superiority complex and an arrogance as Americans. They can call a street in Oklahoma City "Vil-la Avenue" (pronounced in the same manner as "vanilla") instead of the original and correct "Vee-uh" (as in "Pancho Villa"). Damn, this pisses me off! Pronunciations should never be altered. They should always and forever and eternally remain the same as they're pronounced in their original language. Quit fucking up pronunciations, America!

Off the tangent and back to the point: If we had more freedom we'd have more diversity. More lifestyles, more modes of survival, easier means of survival, more cooperation between individuals and companies. The pressure to conform would not be as strong either. And teachers wouldn't give a fistfuck about how you write your 4s, as long as they're legible
One reason most people don't see the Big Picture is that they stay within the frames. They never venture outside the frame's safe borders by thinking "outside the box". This website is very definitely outside the box. It's all about going against the grain, swimming upstream, thinking for yourself.

It is a celebration of spitting out the hook. It revels in sacrilege. It rejoices in irreverence. It exults in the catharsis which relatively few lucky people experience when they reject dogma and the heavy boot of authority.

BlestBeDissent's salient manifesto is an unabashed bashing of popes and presidents, gods and governments - a full spectrum of authority figures who assume you should obey them

Yes, blessed be dissent at any time. Not for the sake of it, but for the sake of independent thinking.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Being vigilant

ER at Brackenridge Hospital

When I grew up, I had never heard of food allergies and apparently, in my family we had none. For some reason, and people attribute it to food processing, food additives, the environment or genes, there are so many more food allergies around that food items have to include a content label with a warning of what potential allergen could be included. So when you or your family member have an allergy, it's label reading time and you look not only for the list of ingredients, but you look straight to the bottom of the list that could say "may include traces of..." or "was processed on something that included...". Well, yesterday was our day of reminding us to be vigilant even though it wasn't really 'us' but my son's teachers who unwittingly thought that there would not be anything allergenic in the cinnamon streusel birthday muffin a mom brought to class. WRONG!

Yesterday afternoon when I picked up my son from school, we were supposed to bring a class mate home for a playdate. As I arrived, the teacher's assistant came out (where they let out the kids) and told me that my son had reacted to a birthday snack that he ate 10 minutes prior. His lips were swollen and they gave him benadryl. I tried to get through to his allergist right away but couldn't so I called his pediatrician instead.

After I told her what happened and that I did not know what he ingested (the mom made cinnamon streusel muffins but could not remember whether it was a Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. The mom wasn't going to be home and couldn't look on the box and said she would call me that night when she'd get home. She might have called me on the cell, it did not look as if she called home last night.)

Anyway, the nurse at the pediatricians' said to watch him for 20 min. after he'd taken the benadryl to see if he would get worse because I'd have to administer the EPIPEN and call 911. Christmas traffic already started up before 3pm so she did not want me to get stuck in traffic with him in case something else happened. My son seemed ok so I called her and she told me to come over to the office. When we got to the office, they checked his O2 SAT level of course and wanted to keep him for an hour. The doctor also called his allergist buddy who gave him a list of meds to take and told him to keep him at the office longer because of a possible delayed allergic reaction.

Sure enough, he started to get restless and complained he wanted to go home and he started to lean against me saying he wanted to sleep. Then he started to yawn and burp and I figured he was about to 'urp'. So I quickly went to the nurse to tell her what I expected him to do and she was about to give him Orapred but figured he wouldn't be able to take it orally. He had dry heaves for a bit and when he was 'done', (nothing came out I wish it had) then they gave him a neb treatment and after that, inspite of his oxygen level being normal, he started to look a bit worse.

buy an epipen

His pediatrician had talked to our pediatric allergist in the meantime describing his symptoms and she told him he was going through anaphylaxis so he had to have an epipen shot and then he had to be taken to the hospital for an IM prelone. Well, the epipen was a first for him and it startled him but he said it didn't hurt. He started to feel much better after that and soon after the EMTs came. My daughter and I drove with him in the ambulance to the children's hospital (I almost got sick from the bumpy, sitting sideways ride!) and I had already called my husband to meet me up there at the ER. Well, during the ride he was fine and his oxygen was fine too so you guessed it, he wasn't bad enough to be helped right away even though his allergist had talked to an ER doctor. We got there about 6:30 and he did not get seen until 9:30!

It was busy with people without insurance (for the most
part illegal immigrants by the looks of it although that said anyone with a lowpaying job would not have insurance or some medcare type insurance). The waiting room was freezing and when we finally got taken back to a room at 9, we could at least warm up and play 'I spy with my little eye'. We were pretty bored and tried to stay clear from all the germs in the waiting room. (the free clinics close at night which is very unpractical) My son was pretty patient the whole time and his ER doctor was pretty nice. She apparently interned under our allergist and spoke very highly of her. Oh and when he got registered and they took his vitals etc and processed his info on the computer, we found out he had broken out in bumps all over his back and arms (somewhat less) and his chest.

ANY way... he got one more dose of benedryl before we left the hospital and my husband in the meantime had gone to get my car at the doctor's place with the help of a collegue's daughter and then he took our daughter in the truck home to get the meds and my son came with us. We went straight to a McD's for take out and finally got home at 10:20! As my husband had gone to get my son's meds from the pharmacy he
called me that the prelone wasn't there so I called the nurse on call who
said that they expected the hospital to administer the prelone IM which they
decided not to so..for the 70cts worth, my husband had to first go home to bring our daughter home who had finally pooped out and then had back to the pharmacy to get the 70cts worth of prelone since What a day!

But, I told my son, well, unless someone can tell us exactly what is in a birthday snack or how it was made or bring the package, we have to say no and be more vigilant.

At his school, since it's not a public school, they don't have the rules as they do in public school so I am going to compose an email (that will be distributed) to explain that regardless, do not give any food unless absolutely sure!

When someone is allergic and has had an allergic reaction again, each progressive next allergic reaction will be worse.
So advice from our pediatrician; when someone with an allergy has a reaction,
immediately administer the epipen and call 911. It is better not to take
any chances. So read labels and just say no!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Visit to the ER

My Jimmy Carter morning part two will have to be done tomorrow. We had an unexpected visit to the pediatrician and then ER visit (which lasted 4 1/2 hours) so on our way home, we swung by the McD's for food and got home at 10:20. I haven't eaten yet, I had to make sure my husband could get a necessary med from the pharmacy and now we're all set..
phoo. Everything is fine, more about this tomorrow. My son ingested something at school which had something in it to which he was allergic. We don't know what it was because the mom who made the birthday muffin used a premix thing and she was not home and did not know what the ingredients were. Sigh..check check check people.
Alrightie, food, contacts out, BED! Adios amigos!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Jimmy Carter booksigning event Part 1

I wrote the whole thing out on long hand and thought it might be too long a 'treaty' so I decided to break it up in two easy morsels.

It is known that Israel has a major nuclear arsenal and the capability to launch weapons quickly, and some neighbouring states are believed to be attempting to acquire their own atomic bombs. Without progress towards peace, desperation or adventurism on either side could precipitate such a confrontation. There are growing schisms in the Middle East region, with hardening Arab animosity toward the Israeli-United States alliance. The war in Iraq has dramatized the conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and has strengthened the influence of Iran. Militant Arabs, including Hamas and Hezbollah, have been given new life and influence as they are seen to be struggling against Israeli occupation of Palestine. The absence of any viable peace initiative exacerbates each individual controversy.
In times of greatest discouragement, ultimate hope has rested on the fact that, overwhelmingly, the people in the region – even those Syrians, Israelis, Lebanese, and Palestinians who are most distrusted by their adversaries – want the peace efforts to succeed. The rhetoric and demands from all sides may be harsh, but there are obvious areas of agreement that can provide a basis for progress. Private discussions with Arab leaders are much more promising than their public statements would lead one to believe, and in Israel there is a strong and persistent constituency for moderation that it too little heard or appreciated in neighbouring states or America
Jimmy Carter in Palestine Peace not Apartheid.

This morning, at a balmy 47 F degrees, my mother and I lined up to await former President Jimmy Carter’s book signing at the Bookpeople. This bookstore btw is one of a dying breed; an independent bookstore that is able to withstand the pressure and presence of the chain bookstores a la ‘Fox Books’. Their sale items might not reach some ridiculously low price intended to reduce stock and bring in new items, but you know when you buy there, you support the local economy.
Even though at 8:30am we still had to wait 2 hours, time flew by thanks to the interesting snippets of conversations we had with the people in front and behind us. The store provided coffee and muffins albeit for a price, and another store took the opportunity to sell their breakfast tacos. After all, this is Texas ya’ll!

As you know, this summer’s conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon elicited a lot of passionate and sometimes angry and frustrated debates and exchanges on the blogosphere. This book signing was not without its protest. Two ladies separately distributed copies of Alan Dershowitz critique on Jimmy Carter’s book, yes, lo and behold the same one I quoted in my previous post, and a sheet comparing “apartheid South Africa” and “democratic Israel”. Another interesting16 page brochure produced by StandWithUs that was distributed was called “Sometimes things aren’t what they seem…” , headed by a picture of a dove partially imposed over the Israeli flag, sequentially followed vertically by pictures of ; a palestinian youth in a pose as if ready to throw a rock; a bombed car most likely the result of a suicide bomber; an Israeli protest rally with a sign saying “Give Peace a Chance”; Arafat; and a baby dressed up like a suicide bomber.

Interesting collage, things are indeed not as they seem. Both the copied articles and the brochure were produced by Stand With Us. Sounds very Aipac-y, but never mind. It reminded me this morning, as I saw pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian people with their own respective signs standing side by side, that this is still a thriving civic society where one can argue till the cows come home with someone without fear of reprisal or death. Well, for the most part.
Another interesting thing was that when I went to the site of the Stand With Us people (I think they need their own song), this brochure was nowhere to be found. And this brochure must have been expensive to produce as it is made out of good stock paper and glossy paper and pictures at that. It probably does not fit with their PR image. I will have to reserve my commentary though for when I am done reading the book before I can give my opinion on the whole Dershowitz retort and the counter publicity that this organization SWU is undertaking.

Personally, I think that they are wasting their time and money because people who are apt to take up the same position as Jimmy Carter, those people will not buy the counter arguments that they have carefully provided on their website. As for trying to convince anyone of an opinion that goes 180 degrees from their position; you can never change a person’s mind. As Jacques Ellul mentioned in his book Propaganda, you can only tweak a person’s opinion, little at a time.
Speaking of propaganda, an elderly couple distributed a statement by Lyndon Larouche as to why he supported Jimmy Carter, and also a magazine called “Organizing the recoveryfrom the Great Crash of 2007” that included International webcasts by Lyndon Larouche. I never had heard of him but apparently, he’s tried for the presidency about 8 times and is considered somewhat of a kook. I will reserve my judgement as I was not interested in the info and merely came to get Jimmy Carter’s book.

Last but not least to scour for publicity for their own cause were the Texans for Obama people. One guy went around with a camera asking people to make comments (positive ones) on-camera and another guy went around with small pamphlets advertising their next get together at Shultz’ beer garden. (it’s a respected food and beer joint people, nothing wrong with that). So all in all, it was an interesting morning even before we got into the store! Thank goodness the weather warmed up (we’re having a bit of a warm spell this week) and we were standing in the sun. It was a sold out event with a thousand vouchers equaling at least 1000 books sold and signed and with no incidences and the smooth running of the whole thing I would say it was a success. More about what happened once we got inside the store tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What should I ask Jimmy Carter at book signing?

Tomorrow morning, I will be at the Bookpeople here in Austin to see former President Jimmy Carter at a book signing. This is the write up:

a challenging, provocative, and courageous book...
President Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
offers an assessment of what must be done to bring permanent peace to Israel with dignity and justice to Palestine...
President Carter shares his intimate knowledge of the history of the Middle East and his personal experiences with the principal actors...
addresses sensitive political issues many American officials avoid...
pulls no punches...
prescribes steps that must be taken for the two states to share the Holy Land

Some people have not been happy with the book such as Alan Dershowitz:
I like Jimmy Carter. I have known him since he began his run for president in early 1976. I worked hard for his election, and I have admired the work of the Carter Center throughout the world. That's why it troubles me so much that this decent man has written such an indecent book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His bias against Israel shows by his selection of the book's title: "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid." The suggestion that without peace Israel is an apartheid state analogous to South Africa is simply wrong. The basic evil of South African apartheid, against which I and so many other Jews fought, was the absolute control over a majority of blacks by a small minority of whites. It was the opposite of democracy. In Israel majority rules; it is a vibrant secular democracy, which just today recognized gay marriages performed abroad. Arabs serve in the Knesset, on the Supreme Court and get to vote for their representatives, many of whom strongly oppose Israeli policies. Israel has repeatedly offered to end its occupation of areas it captured in a defensive war in exchange for peace and full recognition. The reality is that other Arab and Muslim nations do in fact practice apartheid. In Jordan, no Jew can be a citizen or own land. The same is true in Saudi Arabia, which has separate roads for Muslims and non-Muslims. Even in the Palestinian authority, the increasing influence of Hamas threatens to create Islamic hegemony over non-Muslims. Arab Christians are leaving in droves
Click on the text for more of his argument.

So if I have a chance to ask Jimmy Carter a question, what would you want/would like me to ask?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bill introduced to impeach Bush

Even though it's not considered to go anywhere and is merely seen as a symbolic act by an outgoing Democrat, Georgia representative Cynthia McKinney has expressed the will of a majority of Americans;
McKinney... has long insisted that Bush was never legitimately elected. In introducing her legislation in the final hours of the current Congress, she said Bush had violated his oath of office to defend the Constitution and the nation's laws.
In the bill, she accused Bush of misleading Congress on the war in Iraq and violating privacy laws with his domestic spying program.
McKinney has made no secret of her frustration with Democratic leaders since voters ousted her from office in the Democratic primary this summer. In a speech Monday at George Washington University, she accused party leaders of kowtowing to Republicans on the war in Iraq and on military mistreatment of prisoners.

The ladies over at Is America Burning have given the pros and cons to impeachment a fair hearing, even though they themselves support impeaching Bush:
>...apparently there is another side of the impeachment story. I am always willing to hear both sides of an issue. Sometimes patience is required. After all, we have nearly 2 years to investigate, gain solid proof to present to the citizens and then hit them like a ton of bricks. And hopefully, expose all the neocon rats (and predecessors) that helped construct the monstrosity that this administration has become

check out the pros and cons, click on quote.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Who'd make a great US Post ambassador?

When I went to the post office yesterday with my mom to get some stamps for her christmas mail, I found out that the 80ct stamp had gone up to 84. I forgot what kind they were but it got me thinking. Usually, the 'everyday' domestic mail stamps (which are now 39cts, just watch them go up after New Year's) come in a pretty nice variety; we got the holiday stamps; Southern Florida Wetlands; Purple Heart reissue; D C Comics Super Heroes; Wonders of America; Hattie McDaniel just to name a few.
Well, consider the postage stamps we get from other countries. Mine usually come from the Netherlands or another European country or Australia or Canada and their stamps are quite nice and interesting looking. I thought that since the US has a bit of a 'PR' problem what not with an illegal and never ending war, a hard headed president and his ilk, a few international illegal actions here and there (hmm, say like torture), I think we need to put a new 'face' on the 84stamp that says, well got mail! But then in a friendly and inviting manner. What American depiction or association would you want see on that stamp?
I'm opening the floor with my first suggestion; Oprah! She's seen on television sets all over the world literally (109 countries). Tell me, what other suggestions would you have?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

US indicting Charles Taylor..isn't it ironic..

...don't you think;
Alice Fisher, assistant U.S. attorney general for the Justice Department's criminal division, said the indictment was the first time charges under the torture laws had been brought. Emmanuel faces a potential life prison sentence.

"Crimes such as these will not go unanswered," Fisher said at a news conference in Washington with Miami U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta and Julie L. Myers, head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"This is a clear message that the United States will not be a safe haven for human rights violators," Myers said
Say what?
The Congress just passed a bill that enshrines both “harsh interrogation” methods and denies habeas corpus for anyone who is accused of “purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States” no matter if that support came in the shape of donating money to a cause only to find out that the cause was a front for “terrorists.” In voting for this bill, the Congress has eviscerated major portions of our Bill of Rights and what it means to be a liberal democracy as envisioned by our founding fathers. With less than a week of debate, they have set the United States on the road to being a banana republic where the rule of law no longer applies.

So why is this bill so dangerous? And what does this portend for our future?

The danger arises from the secret, unaccountable license for brutality.

for more pictures go to

Yes by all means, let us not be a 'safe haven' for human rights violators.
Ingrid, proud member of BLOGGERS AGAINST TORTURE! (cross posted)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Schools, the Pledge of Allegiance and emotional engineering

Corning school picture. Not where I went btw.

This past week I have been grappling with the notion of transferring my eldest into public school. He currently goes to a Montessori school and will finish his third grade. After that, he might have the possibility of going to 'upper el' (grades 4-6) but there are a few factors why that might not be possible.
At any rate, I bit the bullet last wednesday and visited the elementary school in our neighbourhood. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised; the school looked cozy enough on the inside and all the classes have seperate wings. The school is huge (650 kids) and there are 6 classes for each grade. The curriculum though looks to be very good. The third graders have been working on their writing skills using the W5's (what when why etc) in writing their reports and they've learned how to write their reports; first brainstorm, then draft, then edit, then write. And they've all been learning powerpoint (!) and converted their reports into a powerpoint presentation. This was all established interestingly enough under Bush as Governor (don't lose faith in the program now, somebody else must have put it together) and is known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills program. TEKS.

The assistant principal was very nice and knowledgable herself and was a teacher at the same school in the mid 80s. 15 of her collegues who were there at the time still teach at the school today. They have an excellent library, very pretty, organized and heavily used. They also have computer labs for the younger and older kids with a computer teacher for three days a week. They alternate music, art and pe classes every three days. And the classes have only 22 kids in them until grade 6. All in all, the school itself and the education level looked to be pretty high standard and the principals seem to have the right attitude and accessibility. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed.
But, as with all public schools, here's the clincher; there is that ubiqitous Pledge of Allegiance. I have said from the beginning that I arrived in this country that this whole pledge thing reeked (Youth, serve your fuhrer)

of 'Hitler Youth' symbolism. And this morning, after doing some research, I am shocked and dismayed to find out how accurate I was;
The Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag originally (1892 to 1945) began with a military salute. The pledge was written by Francis Bellamy, cousin and cohort to Edward. The pledge was created to promote their military socialism in the most socialistic institution: government schools (socialized schools). They wanted government to take over all schools and create the "industrial army" from children to spread the Bellamy vision. The Bellamys admired the military and they wanted all of society to ape the military under a martial law system.

The most socialistic institutions in the USA -and the cause of the spread of socialism throughout the USA- has been the military and government schools (socialist schools).

The military salute began the Pledge of Allegiance and the gesture was then extended toward the flag with a straight-arm gesture and thus, Francis' early pledge was the origin of the straight-arm salute of German National Socialism as discovered by the historian Dr. Rex Curry, author of "Pledge of Allegiance Secrets." Shocking photos are on the web.

Early flag ettiquette for men in uniform was to perform the straight-arm salute - not the military salute - when the flag was passing or when the Pledge of Allegiance was being robotically chanted. That practice lasted as long as 1942 for civilians
The original Pledge of Allegiance began with a military salute that was then extended out toward the flag. That is how the classic stylized straight-arm salute originated in the USA's pledge.

As consequence, the USA set a bad example for a long time, as the world observed the U.S. military delivering the straight-arm salute to the flag before WWI, during WWI, after WWI, and for up to three decades before the existence of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

People were persecuted for refusing to pledge or to perform the straight-arm salute to the national flag. That was to the flag of the USA (the stars and stripes) and of Germany (the swastika flag) as it happened at the same time. Some religious people considered it sacrilegious. There were good reasons to view the pledge/salute as the worship of government. Most people do not know that a cross was worshiped as the notorious symbol of German National Socialism. The NSGWP called their symbol the Hakenkreuz, not the swastika. Hakenkreuz means "hooked cross." Although the swastika was an ancient symbol, Professor Rex Curry (author of "Swastika Secrets") discovered that it was also used sometimes by German National Socialists to represent "S" letters for their "socialism." With a 45 degree turn of his Hakenkreuz, the leader of the NSGWP combined the cross with collectivism, merged church and state, meshed religion and socialism, and mandated the worship of government

For several pictures depicting this go HERE! For some reason I tried to download some pictures and Blogger did not make it happen. I even got permission from Professor Curry himself. So..check it out.

However, even if one might think, well,that was then and this is now, we don't salute the same way, it does not have the same connotation for sure! Think again. To any non-American this slavish, sheep-mentality-jump-to-the-feet pledge is something that looks militaristic straight out of an old science fiction film. To me, it's part of this whole propagandic emotional engineering that effects children when they are the most vulneralbe and susceptible to brainwashing as children during Kindergarten, elementary school cannot make philosophical distinctions and engage in critical thinking. Come middle and high school, they'll be effectively programmed to consider it 'normal' and not question it. The few that might most likely come from critically thinking homes but the masses in any society does not, in my observation, engage in such critical discriminating thought. Consider this book, 'A Child of Hitler'. Alfons Heck joined the Jungvolk which was a junior branch of the Hitler Youth at age 10. Hitler ended up having very loyal and faithful little soldiers by the time they were 16/17. I have read a few accounts growing up of men ending up fighting mere German boys at the end of WW2.

However, if you think the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines set off a (no doubt manipulated by Country and Western radio stations) furor about making a comment about Bush, consider this exchange (follow the link) of college students in California who decided to drop the pledge of allegiance;
Student leaders at a California college have touched off a furor by banning the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, saying they see no reason to publicly swear loyalty to God and the U.S. government.

The move by Orange Coast College student trustees, the latest clash over patriotism and religion in American schools, has infuriated some of their classmates -- prompting one young woman to loudly recite the pledge in front of the board on Wednesday night in defiance of the rule.

"America is the one thing I'm passionate about and I can't let them take that away from me," 18-year-old political science major Christine Zoldos told Reuters.

Yikes! Especially in the years following 9/11 with the neoconservative Bush administration in place has their been an atmosphere that some referred to as 'fascism'. 14 Points of fascism to be exact. Whether you can believe or fathom that or not, the pledge of allegiance has very much been one of those symbolistic gestures and oaths that require even religious people to pledge allegiance to 'Mammon'. In order to appease the religious folks during the 50s, the 'under God' was added and made more palatable. I still believe a loyalty oath is appropriate in a military setting only where you literally have to rely on others in life and death. In a democracy and a multi-ethnic, pluralistic one as the United States, it has no business being promoted period!
Yes yes, you are entitled to have your child be exempt from participating but how would that look? How about the peer pressure? He's only 8.
I still have very strong reservations about this issue and I am not sure at this point what I will decide to do. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think if they kept the same upright arm stance that after WW2 they would have kept the pledge here in the US?